Extent of Rehab?

12 Replies

I have a question with regards to the extent of rehabs for the seasoned flippers here.

In my area of New England we have a tremendous amount of older homes, and a lot of the homes I'm coming across have some very uneven floors. I'm just getting started in REI, house flipping to begin with, and have put offers in on more than a few homes over the course of the last three months. I've been a remodeling general contractor for a lot of years and most of that work has been in higher end homes where we either try to correct these issues or the homeowner wants to maintain the "character". My inclination is that I'm probably overstating the necessary improvements to what I've been doing for years versus what an average home requires, and therefore out bidding myself.

So my question is, using the uneven floors as a sample, as long as there are no structural issues, is this a turn-off for the average homeowner that I should be pricing in for correction or just refinish as is? Un-even floors lead to uneven doors and uneven ceilings and so on. Not my style but is it good enough for most?

Thanks in advance!

@John Snow If you were buying the house, what would you expect? Do you honestly think anyone considers uneven floors character? Character would be various molding and trim items, leaded glass windows, cast iron tubs, tray ceilings, etc., not floors that have become uneven over the years due to moisture or settling of the house. Look at what is selling in the neighborhood, prices being paid, and what the homes were like. You don't want to over improve for the neighborhood, but you don't want to be known as someone that does shoddy work either, especially if you make a living as a contractor!

Medium house plansKaren Margrave, Parlay Investments | [email protected] | http://www.parlayinvestments.com | CA Contractor # 680782

I agree with Karen 100%

Couldn't have said it better than Karen.

I live in a 6,000sf house built in 1893 and the floors are uneven. If you set a marble on one end of the floor it will sometimes find its way to the other. I think that when working on homes built before 1900 you should not put great effort into evening the floors and the hardwood floors you find should be refinished as is. The buyer that is attracted to a home of this age will understand that everything won't be completely level. With that said you should put whatever work necessary into the project to make sure that the structural settling or whatever is causing the floors to become that way can't get worse.

Interestingly enough I have a rehab- My latest rehab is a house built in 1912 in a historic neighborhood. My floors are uneven and its a pet peeve with me since everything else looks so perfect and I'm not one for older house.. It's irritating me to the point that I mentioned it to everyone I know about the floors.

But guess what I listed it on Thursday the 13th.. I had 4 showings on Friday, 3 showings Saturday.. 2 sunday and at least 2 agents mentioned they were sending over an offer- I took one that came in this morning..

NOONE MENTIONED THE FLOORS... I think we tend to focus on different things as a rehabber but I noticed that neighbors didn't notice the same stuff. They noticed that I kept like the moulding above windows and doors and everyone said the same thing when I brought up the floors- Its an old house its expected.

That's exactly what I'm asking about @Ophelia Nicholson

I guess I should have clarified, with my experience and background I consider anything built within the last 100 years to be contemporary and problems like that should be dealt with. One of the homes I'm pursuing, and probably going to pass on, was built in the late 1600's and there really isn't much you can do with that short of a substantial replacement. Another one built in the early 1800's is what prompted the question today. I come across a lot of older homes that people purchase with the thought process that they fix them up themselves to live in only to find out the extent involved in an older home. They've started the rehab but run out of funds and lose the home.

And yes @Karen Margrave , In this part of the country there are a lot of people that consider that character. I've come across a lot of homeowners over the last 30 years that have not wanted me to correct them. They love the pumpkin pine floors.

@John Snow - Hello John. I'm a combination Investor/Realtor/Engineer. The engineer part of me knows that uneven floors are not necessarily a structural problem. But here's the problem -> I have a listing of an older house that has uneven floors. It's in a young-couple-first-time-buyer kind of price range. Young kids often don't have enough experience in life to have ever been in a house with uneven floors, so it scares them. That's the biggest feed-back item that I've had on this listing. So, it depends a lot on your likely buyer demographic.

@John Snow I stand corrected. I didn't realize you were talking about historical homes, I thought they were just "old". I personally love the really old homes, and unless it were a safety hazard would not be concerned. Sorry!

Medium house plansKaren Margrave, Parlay Investments | [email protected] | http://www.parlayinvestments.com | CA Contractor # 680782

I had a home inspection this morning and the inspector said to me- When you inspect houses over 75 years old you expect the floors to be uneven.. He then continued to say anyone looking to buy an older home the realtor is gonna tell them - hey this is part of an old house.

He also mentioned that if the uneven floors were in a 5 or 10 year old house it would be a big no no but in a 100+year old house it is just part of the character..

What is this character thing people speak of??? Joke- As long as my house sells right...

Although I am in Florida now... I spent the first 30 years in Connecticut and YES, uneven floors and too short doorways are actually looked at as character and "part of the life story"... much like well worn wooden steps. To me, worn down steps are a trip hazard...to someone buying an old colonial, they show the love and wear of a family going up and down the stairs for years. Age sells in New England!

Me... I would leave as much "old bones" as possible in the old house. If it is not a structural issue, it may be the little extra that sells the house.